Assistant Professor

Althea Wasow

  • Social Sciences & Media Studies 2318


Althea Wasow is a filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her current book project, Moving Images/Modern Policing: Silent Cinema and Its Afterlives, analyzes the complicity and resistance between police power and motion pictures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is also in development on a parallel project, Untitled Bert Williams Essay Film.

Prior to joining the faculty at UCSB, Wasow was UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) at UC Santa Cruz. At UCSC, she collaborated on IAS’s public scholarship initiative, Visualizing Abolition, and curated “Ornament and Abolition,” a film series that draws attention to questions of film form and abolition.

Wasow wrote and directed the wannabe, a fiction film based on the true story of a young man who told another man’s crime story as his own and was incarcerated for 16 years. the wannabe won Best Short at HBO’s New York International Latino Film Festival. In addition to national and international film festivals, her films have screened at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Queens Museum of Art. Her collaborations in film and visual culture also include, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights (media researcher and consultant, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 2010), An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (senior editor & co-writer, Steidl, 2007), Rikers High (co-producer, Showtime, 2005) and The Innocents (producer & project editor, Umbrage, 2003, 2005). Wasow has taught courses on avant-garde film, film & media and policing, and photography at UC Berkeley, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts/The New School, and NYU. She has also taught in jails and prisons in New York and California, including San Quentin State Prison, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, and Rikers Island. Wasow co-founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization that uses the power of art and design to increase meaningful civic engagement. Her academic honors and awards include the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and the Mellon-Chancellor Fellowship.


  • PhD Film and Media, Designated Emphasis in Critical TheoryUC Berkeley
  • MFA Film DirectingColumbia University
  • BA Modern Culture and MediaBrown University